Yesterday’s election was proof, once again, that voters can be finicky – and that’s the way it should be.
Here is a rundown:
Legislative District 18 Recall
The big story was the surprise victory of Republican Jerry Lewis over Republican State Senate President Russell Pearce. Pearce was placed on recall ballot through the efforts of some left-wing and Democrat- affiliated organizations, but it was conservative Republican Jerry Lewis who took advantage of the opportunity by running a very solid race. Pearce outspent Lewis as much as 3-1, and Pearce also enjoyed support from some independent expenditures and the entirety of the Republican establishment.
It wasn’t enough. Voters were given a choice between a hard-edged Mormon conservative Republican whose main issue has been immigration (Pearce) and a softer spoken Mormon conservative Republican who has been a champion for school choice (Lewis). This will likely impact the next legislative session, in that there will be fewer immigration-related issues at the forefront.
Lewis will be a good fit in a conservative State Senate, but Pearce loyalists will likely spend time unnecessarily sniping at him – and he may be a short termer, depending on what happens with redistricting.
City of Phoenix
In the Phoenix, union-backed Greg Stanton prevailed over Wes Gullet. Thelda Williams prevailed over a challenge from the right. One of the unspoken stories in that race was the Williams enjoyed strong support from the LDS community (who would typically be more aligned with a more conservative candidate) because of her work in helping the LDS Church preserve the ability to build a temple in the north reaches of Phoenix. Daniel Valenzuela bested Brenda Sperduti. After Jim Waring unseated a union boss in August, there is a pretty even split on how much union influence there will be at City Hall.
Who said politics was boring?